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Parkway’s new ALT Project gives freshmen Chromebooks

Haley+Lander+%289%29+works+on+her+Chromebook+while+sister+Lexie+Lander+%2811%29+looks+on.+As+a+junior+Lexie+won%27t+receive+her+own+school-issued+Chromebook+unlike+her+sister.
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Parkway’s new ALT Project gives freshmen Chromebooks

Haley Lander (9) works on her Chromebook while sister Lexie Lander (11) looks on. As a junior Lexie won't receive her own school-issued Chromebook unlike her sister.

Haley Lander (9) works on her Chromebook while sister Lexie Lander (11) looks on. As a junior Lexie won't receive her own school-issued Chromebook unlike her sister.

Haley Lander (9) works on her Chromebook while sister Lexie Lander (11) looks on. As a junior Lexie won't receive her own school-issued Chromebook unlike her sister.

Haley Lander (9) works on her Chromebook while sister Lexie Lander (11) looks on. As a junior Lexie won't receive her own school-issued Chromebook unlike her sister.

Athena Stamos and Madeline Lee

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As part of a new program that the district unveiled, the freshmen were given Chromebooks.

“I like how students can access many things at ease,” freshman Vassilios Georges said. “I use it for resources.”

In eighth grade, the class of 2022 (current freshman) were given the opportunity to get a Chromebook as well that had to stay in the classroom. This year was different as they were allowed to take them home for the whole school year.

“The Chromebooks help with school and studying,” freshman Dani Lee said. “I can look up YouTube videos if I need help with a subject and email my teachers easier since their emails come right up.”

Approximately $400,000 dollars was spent this year on the Access Learning Today Project; the project that was aimed at giving students access to technology in order to better prepare them for the changing world.

“We, the district, felt that the versatility and functionality of a Chromebook would meet most of our needs,” Director of Technology and Innovation Jason Rooks said. “We saw a strong integration between our already established G-Suite for Education environment and the Chromebook. The relatively inexpensive cost of Chromebooks allowed us to ensure that it would be a sustainable device.”

The incoming freshman will continue to receive Chromebooks through 2021.

I think every year like a new class comes in they should give them it,” sophomore Chase Henry said. “But it should’ve started earlier and the freshmen aren’t responsible.”

The district’s Innovation Action Team are responsible for deciding how to roll out the Chromebooks to the students. In 2016, the elementary schools were given Chromebooks. In 2017, they added the middle schools, and in 2018 they added this year’s freshmen.

Aimed at providing students with more resources, this has caused some controversy among the students.

¨I feel like it is a waste of money and is kind of unfair,¨ Henry said. “What makes the freshman different from us?¨

The Chromebooks were administered through their AC Lab classes.

“I felt that the [freshman] felt comfortable with the Chromebooks,” freshman AC Lab teacher Susan King said. “I have no memory of any problems aside from some of [the Chromebooks] needing to be charged.”

Having access to Chromebooks may help freshmen be able to complete their school work, however upperclassmen don’t necessarily have the luxury of taking one home.

“I think it’s annoying that they’re slowly integrating them instead of just letting everyone have the opportunity to have them,” junior Emily Kirkham said. “Personally, I broke my computer so I don’t have much access at home. I think they should have asked everyone if they wanted a Chromebook.”

On the other hand, other students are okay with it. Whether or not having a Chromebook does not affect them as much as others.

“If I had just been one year younger I would’ve gotten [a Chromebook],” sophomore Peter Schaefer said. “But I understand how they are phasing them in, so I’m fine with it.”

Non-freshman students still have access to Chromebooks in class with the use of the Chromebook carts, as well as access to school and public libraries.

“We have lots of other resources,” King said. “Other students are not deprived completely of technology, so I’m happy. It has been a good experience so far.”

In response to critics of the freshman being given Chromebooks, freshman Ebony Page dismisses them.

“I don’t want to carry around the Chromebook either,” Page said. “But teachers are already giving me a lot of homework, so I’ll use it.”

Other districts are doing similar things as well. For example, Ladue high schoolers were given MacBooks for the same purpose that Parkway has handed out Chromebooks, after previously being given iPads.

“It’s not perfect, but we are dealing with a large population [of students] and expensive equipment,” King said. “You have to have control and structure. I think the district is doing this in the right way.”

 

GraceAnn Robinson (10) and Deja Campbell(10) work on a project in their English class. One use for the Chromebooks is that it easily allows to people to work on the same document or project at one time. Photo by Nandhini Siva.

 

Christian Cross (10) accesses the G-Suite, which is the Google program that includes Google Classroom and is within the Parkway domain, is accessed by students and teachers on a daily basis. Google Classroom is used by the majority of teachers at Parkway Central and is a place where teachers can post assignments for students to turn in, among other things. Photo by Nandhini Siva.

Amber Garcia (10) and Julie Ryterski (10) utilize chromebooks in their daily classes, as almost each class has access to Chromebooks on a daily basis. Photo by Nandhini Siva.

 

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Parkway’s new ALT Project gives freshmen Chromebooks